Former jockey Wayne Burton suffered life-changing injuries when he fell from his horse in 2008 and was left paralysed from the chest down.

But now he is preparing to run the London Marathon.

Swindon-born Wayne had ridden since he was a child but his fall in a national hunt race in March 2008 at the age of 24 changed everything.

“I’d ridden her (the horse) at the same track three weeks before that in another race and finished fourth,” he recalled. “I thought that day she would win.

"I was still very raw and new to jumping though. Although I had been racing horses since I was 16, I only got into jumping at 21."

Seconds into the race, Wayne's horse fell at the first hurdle, propelling him hard into the ground, and he was rushed to hospital.

“A week before I left hospital, the consultant came in and told my family to prepare for the worst,” Wayne said.

“He said I would probably never walk again, and my speech and understanding might not come back."

Swindon Advertiser: Wayne has been riding horses since he was a young boy.Wayne has been riding horses since he was a young boy. (Image: Thomas Kelsey)Swindon Advertiser:

Fifteen years later Wayne is preparing to take part in his first marathon and hopes to raise money for spinal research.

"I've just turned 40, so maybe it's a little bit like a midlife crisis," he laughed.

"But I saw a guy in a wheelchair older than me do the marathon, and I just thought if he can do it then why can’t I?"

Wayne will be racing on behalf of The Injured Jockey Fund, and raising money for Spinal Research.

Swindon Advertiser: Wayne has begun intense training for his marathon.Wayne has begun intense training for his marathon. (Image: Wayne Burton)

"I originally tried to sign up for the marathon and was told they didn't have any places," he said. "But then later that same day I was emailed by Spinal Research asking if I wanted to do it, and I just thought - this is meant to be.

"Spinal Research is such an important charity to me. There will never be a complete cure for spinal damage, but there's lots of research going towards what movement can be restored, and in the case of gradual spinal injuries, how to catch it early and prevent further damage."

For Wayne, who lives in a rehab centre for jockeys, sport has always been his passion and way of maintaining a purpose in life.

He said: "I have always had sport in my life. Before I had my accident, I played football lots and obviously I was a jockey. Now I also play lots of wheelchair basketball. I’ve always liked to have something challenging and to be able to compete.

"I never thought that I would be able to do a marathon though. It seemed impossible."